Prairie Politics

Kris Kobach responds to Hillary Clinton campaign’s criticism over voting rules

Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. On Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, Clinton’s presidential campaign lambasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s policies as a “full-court press” against Kansans’ voting rights.
Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. On Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, Clinton’s presidential campaign lambasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s policies as a “full-court press” against Kansans’ voting rights. Associated Press

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign lambasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s policies as a “full-court press” against Kansans’ voting rights Thursday.

The Democratic frontrunner earlier criticized Kobach over a new voting rule that is removing names from the state’s suspended voter list after 90 days if a prospective voter fails to provide proof of citizenship.

“Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s full-court press to implement harsh voting restrictions and disenfranchisement efforts continue to deny Kansans their basic freedoms by making it more difficult for them to be active participants in our democracy,” said Clinton’s senior policy adviser Maya Harris in a statement.

Harris went on to say that Clinton “wants to expand access to the ballot box for all Americans by calling for universal, automatic voter registration and a new standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state.”

Harris’ statement was in response to analysis that shows voters under 30 make up more than 40 percent of the suspended voter list, which had ballooned to more than 36,000 as of September – the last month before the 90-day rule took effect. The rule will reduce the list significantly over time.

The impact on young voters was highlighted by The Wichita Eagle in a Sept. 26 report that was picked up by the Associated Press and other news outlets.

The New York Times reported on the same issue Thursday, citing the original Eagle report and prompting the Clinton campaign’s statement.

“Other states, such as Alabama, have copied aspects of the Kansas law,” said Kobach in a statement released by his office Friday morning. “But Hillary wants to move in the opposite direction, supporting a bill that amounts to a federal takeover of the registration process and would result in millions of aliens automatically getting onto the voter rolls. Every time an alien votes, it cancels out the vote of a U.S. citizen. But Hillary doesn’t seem to care about that.”

Kobach said in the statement that his office has discovered numerous incidents of non-citizens either registering or attempting to register to vote.

“We have already identified more than 30 aliens who either successfully registered before our law went into effect, or attempted to register (and were stopped) after the law went into effect. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” the statement said.

Kobach has argued that it's a prospective voter's responsibility to provide missing documents or information. When Clinton criticized Kobach's policies earlier this summer, he accused her on Twitter of "getting her pantsuit in a twist over nothing."

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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